Barbara A. Moffatt
Associate Dean, Student Relations (half time)
Recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award
Bachelor of Science (BSc) Guelph, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Toronto
Telephone: (519) 888-4567 ext. 32517
Office: Biology 2 357C
I am intrigued by how gene expression and enzyme activities are regulated to meet the metabolic needs of plant development. Fortunately new technologies are now available to address these dynamic responses. My program is focused on understanding the metabolism of adenine and several related compounds including cytokinins. A few of the ongoing projects are outlined below.
I started working on adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (APT) when I was a postdoc and found that loss of the predominant isoform, APT1, made plants male sterile. Recently I have returned to looking at this enzyme activity because of a mutant that was found that lacks APT1 activity but is fertile. Analysis of this mutant has led to our current studies of the dual transcripts arising from the APT1 locus. The two APT products reside in different compartments but the functional significance of this targeting remains to be determined.
We have been looking at the roles of adenosine kinase (ADK) in plants for several years. The generation and analysis of lines deficient in ADK activity has revealed that this enzyme plays a critical role in maintaining methylation activities in plants and its expression is regulated in association with cellular methylation requirements. ADK deficiency also impacts cytokinin metabolism.
Studies of ADK led us to look at related enzymes associated with methylation, particularly their subcellular localization and protein-protein interactions. We are also having fun trying to understand the complex phenotype of mutants deficient in methylthioadenosine nucleosidase.
To understand the involvement of these enzymes in plant metabolism and their regulation we analyze mutants in the corresponding genes using genetics, metabolite profiling, enzyme assays, morphological analyses, and reporter gene studies. Immunodetection of protein levels and protein-protein interaction assays are also ongoing.
I am also collaborating on a microarray and metabolomic analysis of a naturally stress tolerant plant, Thellungiella salsuginea, along with Drs. E. Weretilinyk. G. Gray, R. Cameron and B. Golding.
Funding is available to support graduate student participation in this research. Interested students are welcome to contact me by email for further information.
Nuclear targeting of methyl-recycling enzymes in Arabidopsis thaliana is mediated by specific protein interactions. Lee S, Doxey A, McConkey B, Moffatt BA. Published online Molecular Plant Oct 5, 2011 doi: 10.1093/mp/ssr083.
Adenosine kinase contributes to cytokinin interconversion in Arabidopsis. Schoor S, Farrow S, Blaschke H, Lee S, Perry G, von Schwartzenberg, K, Emery, NRJ, Moffatt BA. Published online Plant Physiology 29 July 2011, doi 10.1104/pp.111.181560.
Inhibition of 5’-methylthioadenosine metabolism in the Yang cycle alters polyamine levels, and impairs seedling growth and reproduction in Arabidopsis. Bürstenbinder K, Waduwara I, Schoor S, Moffatt BA, Wirtz M, Minocha SC, Oppermann Y, Bouchereau A, Hell R, Sauter M. 2010. Plant Journal 62: 977-988.
- Adenosine kinase of Arabidopsis thaliana: kinetic properties and gene expression Moffatt BA, Wang L, Allen M, Stevens Y, Qin W , von Schwartzenberg K. 2000. Plant Physiology 124: 1775-1785. Adenosine kinase of Arabidopsis thaliana: kinetic properties and gene expression (PDF)
- Maintaining methylation activities during salt stress: the involvement of adenosine kinase. Weretinyk EA, Alexander KJ, Drebenstedt M, Snider J, Summers PS, and Moffatt BA. 2001. Plant Physiology 125: 856-865. View PDF
- Sustaining S-adenosylmethionine-dependent methyltransferase activity in plant cells. Moffatt BA. Weretilnyk EA. 2001. Physiologia Plantarum. 113: 435-442. View PDF
- Adenosine kinase deficiency is associated with developmental abnormalities and reduced transmethylation. Moffatt BA, Stevens Y, Allen M, Snider S, Pereira LA, Todorova M, Summers PS, Weretilnyk EA, Martin-McCaffrey L, Wagner C 2002. Plant Physiology 128: 812-821. View PDF